The UAE’s distributor of Skoda Auto, Ali & Sons Motors Division, is optimistic that if recent worldwide sales growth is anything to go by, the Middle East market could well see a spike in sales this year.
“Besides the encouraging sales across several markets for the past year, Ali & Sons has exciting plans for 2011 to promote Skoda Auto in the UAE where the brand has a relatively low awareness compared to elsewhere in the region, and Europe for that matter,” said Mr. Mohamad Al Dhaheri, Operations Manager for Skoda in the UAE.
In 2010, Škoda Auto has sold more cars than ever, boasting 762,600 sold vehicles worldwide (2009: 684,200).
The top-selling model was once again the Octavia, while the Superb – launched by Ali & Sons to the UAE consumers in November last year – also experienced an excellent development in its segment.
Ali & Sons Motors Division secured the sole dealership rights for Skoda from Auto Star Trading in mid 2010. Al Dhaheri, believes that Skoda’s initial “relative anonymity in the UAE” market by this fact itself implies that the only way to grow is up. There is huge potential for Skoda to increase sales among eager consumers once they become familiar with the outstanding value that the brand has to offer.
Few people, for example, know about the reliability and innovation associated with Skoda by consumers in other countries who are already aware of Volkswagen’s support and relationship with the brand. Skoda, originally a Czech automobile manufacturer, became a subsidiary of the worldwide auto giant Volkswagen Group – the largest car manufacturer in Europe and also the custodian of brands such as Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Volkswagen – in the early 1990s.
“Once this becomes common knowledge in the UAE, I believe it could the contributing factor for helping the brand grow along with its market share,” Al Dhaheri says.
“Safety is one of the brand’s key aspects. The Skoda Superb 3.6 was top of the range in safety terms and safety tests conducted by the independent organisation, Euro-NCAP, who saw this model rake in five stars – the highest possible rating,” he says.
Jürgen Stackmann, the Škoda Board Member for Sales and Marketing, says Škoda’s sales in the growth markets of China, Russia, and India continued dynamically.
Says Stackmann: “We not only increases total sales to an all new record level in the year 2010, but more markets than ever have also reported new market share and delivery records than ever before.
“That gives us an outstanding basis for further growth in the coming years. We plan to expand our activities in all markets and want to at least double our sales worldwide until 2018. Škoda will still present several surprises this year.”
In the important growth markets of India, China, and Russia, Škoda has clearly grown at double-digit rates. In China, the largest automobile market of the world, sales have increased 47.3 percent, reaching 180,500 units. In Russia, 45,600 vehicles were sold (last year: 33,000), which is a 38 percent increase, and a new record market share of 2.6 percent. In India, sales have risen to 37.7 percent to about 20,000 vehicles.
Al Dhaheri concludes: “Skoda is considered one of the toughest and most reliable auto brands across the globe. With the support of committed marketing efforts, inherent quality, safety and comfort features, and elegant designs, we hope to see the Skoda brand ranking as one of the most popular auto brands across all the emirates in the near future.”